To understand why it is possible for blockchain encryption to prosper -even in the quantum-computing world - it is helpful to look more closely at why encryption algorithms might inherently be vulnerable to quantum computers.
In particular, it has been suggested that quantum computing threatens the viability of blockchain technology due to the latters use of asymmetric encryption, aka public-key cryptography. For instance, it is generally assumed that highly sophisticated quantum computers may someday crack current-day cryptography, making security an important issue for users in the blockchain space. The problem is that a blockchain ledger system supporting cryptocurrency could become vulnerable to complex threats and counterfeiting, should quantum computing advance more rapidly than efforts to secure future-proof digital cash.
The good news for crypto fans is that the quantum computing issue could be solved by embracing the same kind of post-quantum encryption technologies the computer science industry has already begun developing. Additionally, it is very possible that blockchain technology will develop to address the quantum security issue when quantum computers become widely available. In the meantime, cryptocurrency users and developers may want to take necessary steps to make sure that the blockchain networks on which they depend are quantum-proof.
Using quantum keys alongside the blockchain network can be a way to help protect against attacks by classical as well as quantum computers. Just as quantum computing could build a powerful encryption technology, it also has the potential to crack previously indestructible forms of encryption, placing it potentially at odds with the whole goal of blockchains. The bitcoin blockchain presents a unique challenge to quantum-safe cryptography due to its decentralized nature and the complications of the governing structures this presents.
Cybersecurity is at the forefront of minds of those in the quantum community, but many experts within the field, including cyber security expert Itan Barmes, feel there is insufficient communication between the quantum computing and bitcoin communities in order to secure the future of cyber security in the bitcoin blockchain. We are going to take a look at what types of vulnerabilities might arise, how likely it is for a quantum attack to happen to the Bitcoin network, and what the Blockchain community could do to protect itself from any potential threats down the road. While developments in quantum computing are sure to impact current technologies - including the blockchain and cryptocurrency - developments within this industry are at a very early stage.
For cryptocurrencies, the future could see forks affecting a significant portion of the chain, but this is going to be somewhat expected: There is been much thought about a post-quantum cryptographic technology. The real threat is when quantum computers get much larger in scale than they are now -- at which point plans for post-quantum encryption, already well underway, would be put to the forefront, and at which point Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could fork gently -- and harness both decentralized governance and vitality as needed to overcome the threat of quantum supremacy. Cryptocurrencies with stronger governance or pre-quantum designs built-in from the outset would be able to evade this usage.